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Facts about Criminal Law

Penal law can also be known as criminal law. The body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and legal punishment of legal offenses is called criminal law. It is based on the four theories of the criminal justice system namely, punishment, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. All this imposition of sanctions concerning the crime is to achieve justice and peaceable social order. The objective of criminal law is to exercise social control. It aims at discouraging behavior that is unfavorable to the wellbeing of the society as well as behavior that test the government’s authority and legitimacy. Criminal laws help in restraining behavior of the people and hence they are created in a way to act as restraints.

First, criminal charges are filed, and then proceedings follow, and it takes place in a series of stages. It is the police who respond and take action to any citizen’s complaint lodged. The police may also feel suspicious, and in such case, they investigate, take down statements from various essential witnesses and based on the findings make a report. They can arrest people during the investigation. For evaluation, they submit a report after completion to the prosecutor’s office. It is the prosecutor who will be authorized whether or not criminal charges will be filed against any suspect mentioned in the police report. The process for filing criminal offenses may be different amongst jurisdictions.

Some jurisdictions give greater discretionary powers to the police in charging defendants with specific crimes. Others are there to provide higher powers in this regard to the prosecutor. After being stopped by the police, the suspect or the defendant may be arrested for a civil infraction or for a misdemeanor or also be arrested for a felony. Although criminal charges are usually chosen solely by the prosecutor’s office, the police might be arresting a person while also recommending a certain charge.

The process of criminal justice begins with an alleged crime. The police investigate upon the allegation that the complainant makes. The police in this criminal law cases should work as representatives of the government. The grand jury brings a complaint or an accusation, or even a formal charging document is filed in a court in the appropriate jurisdiction. A prosecuting attorney represents the interests of the state. The benefits of the defendant are represented by the defense attorney or by the defendant acting as his or her attorney. The process culminates with a bench trial regardless of local laws that may be followed by mandatory or discretionary appeals to higher courts. You are made aware of your rights with the police, your rights in the courtroom and your rights upon sentence by the criminal lawyer.

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